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A Better Future For Palestinians

The United States is committed to bringing about a better future for the Palestinian and Israeli people in the wake of the fighting in Gaza.

Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell recently met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss steps toward forging a lasting ceasefire.

"It's important to consolidate a sustainable durable ceasefire," said Mr. Mitchell, "and we encourage continuing efforts in that regard. To be successful in preventing the illicit trafficking of arms into Gaza, there must be a mechanism to allow the flow of legal goods and that should be with the participation of the Palestinian Authority."

In an effort to meet critical humanitarian needs brought on by the fighting, President Barack Obama has authorized the use of more than $20 million from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund. U.S. support for humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees and conflict victims now totals nearly $120 million for 2009, including nearly $60 million in Gaza.

Of the $20.3 million in new Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance, $13.5 million will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. $6 million will go to the International Committee of the Red Cross and $800,000 to the U.N. office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

These organizations are distributing emergency food assistance, providing medical assistance and temporary shelter, creating temporary employment, and restoring access to electricity and potable water to the people of Gaza.

President Obama, said Mr. Mitchell, has "underlined our commitment to a better future for all Palestinians whose legitimate aspirations for an independent and viable state should be met; lasting peace is our objective and the United States will sustain an active commitment to reaching the goal of 2 states living side by side in peace, stability, and security."